Equitable and Effective Distribution of the COVID-19 Vaccines – A Scientific and Moral Obligation

Document Type : Editorial

Authors

1 Vice Chancellor’s Office, University of Global Health Equity, Kigali, Rwanda

2 Partners in Health, Boston, MA, USA

Abstract

The rapid development of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines has not been met with the assurance of an effective and equitable global distribution mechanism. Low-income countries are especially at-risk, with the price of the vaccines and supply shortages limiting their ability to procure and distribute the vaccines. While the COVAX initiative is one of the solutions to these challenges, vaccine nationalism has resulted in the hoarding of vaccines and the signing of parallel bilateral deals, undermining this formerly promising initiative. Moreover, inequity in local distribution also remains a problem, with clear discrimination of minorities and lack of logistical preparation in some countries. As we continue to distribute the COVID-19 vaccines, pharmaceutical companies should share their technology to increase supply and reduce prices, governments should prioritize equitable distribution to the most at- risk in all nations and low-income countries should bolster their logistical capacity in preparation for mass vaccination campaigns.

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